|East/West Shrine Game Coverage|
These are the players who have helped and hurt their stock during the week of practice at the 2013 Shrine Game.
RB Ray Graham (Pittsburgh) – He looked explosive this week. Graham showed off an impressive burst through the hole. He also has good vision. He has terrific hands out of the backfield. 5th round pick.
RB Christine Michael (Texas A&M) – Michael has the physical tools to be a starting RB at the next level. He is another back who looked explosive on the field. He demonstrated great cutback ability and hit the hole with authority. 4th or 5th round pick.
WR Corey Fuller (Virginia Tech) – Emory Blake, Jasper Collins and Keenan Davis had a good week of practice. Fuller was the one that stood out to me. He operated mainly from the slot, but DBs had a difficult time staying with him. He used his speed and created separation. He showed very reliable hands. 4th or 5th round pick.
OT Terron Armstead (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) – He has good size and light feet. He was solid in pass protection. But his run blocking skills really stood out. His best position is either at RT or guard at the next level. 3rd or 4th round pick.
C T.J. Johnson (South Carolina) – He got a great push in the run game. He is a terrific technician. He showed excellent hand placement. Once he locks on, he is able to sustain those blocks. 6th round pick.
DE David Bass (Missouri Western State) – He put together a very good week. He showed off his quickness coming off the edge. He had active hands and long arms. He has good size and the frame to bulk up. 4th or 5th round pick.
DT William Campbell (Michigan) – He is a big DT who showed the ability to collapse the pocket. He was effective using the bull rush. He is pretty athletic. Campbell also demonstrated his strength and looked unblockable at times. 5th or 6th round pick.
LB Gerald Hodges (Penn State) – Hodges stood out in practice. He was the best player here. He is an instinctive LB with good speed. He made plays all over the field. He also showed very impressive coverage skills. 2nd round pick.
LB Sio Moore (UConn) – He is an instinctive LB who shows good gap responsibility on run plays. He impressed me with his coverage skills. Size is a concern. 5th round pick.
LB Keith Pough (Howard) – He is an athletic LB with sideline-to-sideline speed. He looked very comfortable and fluid in coverage all week. He is a leader on the field. 4th round pick.
CB Brandon McGee (Miami, FL) – McGee is a speedy CB with solid athleticism. He showed good footwork during the week which was a weakness for him. He displayed good man-to-man coverage and demonstrated fluid hips. 5th or 6th round pick.
S Earl Wolff (NC State) – He is an instinctive safety with good speed. He was solid with his assignments this entire week. He is a very good run defender. But Wolff surprised me with his coverage skills this week. 5th round pick.
S Duke Williams (Nevada) – He is an all-around safety. He has great speed and athleticism. He was impressive in press coverage. He used a good jam and disrupted receivers’ timing. He will be a starting safety in the NFL. 3rd or 4th round pick.
QB Collin Klein (Kansas State) – Klein struggled more than any other prospect during the practice sessions. I didn’t see much of an improvement from him throughout the week. His accuracy is shaky. His mechanics and footwork need a lot of improvement. Klein also has a slow release. It would be wise for him to switch to another position. Undrafted free agent.
WR Marcus Davis (Virginia Tech) – Davis is a physical specimen. The size, the speed and athleticism are intriguing. But he showed inconsistent hands this week. Davis had a difficult time tracking and locating the football downfield. He is also a below average route runner. 6th round pick.
TE Joseph Fauria (UCLA) – He got hurt during Monday’s practice and missed the entire week with a “hip” issue. He has good size and reliable hands. He is a big time target in the red zone. Unfortunately, Fauria looked slow. He lacked that quickness coming out of his cuts. He needs to work on his route running. He is a below average blocker. 6 or 7th round pick.
CB Terry Hawthorne (Illinois) – Hawthorne has good size, speed and athletic ability. Unfortunately, he just didn’t make many plays this week. He got beat on a number of occasions in one-on one match-ups and during scrimmage. He lacks instincts and awareness on the football field. 4th or 5th round pick.
CB Aaron Hester (UCLA) – He has ideal size and a nice frame. He is more than willing to support against the run. But his ball skills are very average. He also had a difficult time staying with quicker receivers. He showed tight hips. Undrafted free agent.
Nathan Stanley (SE Louisiana) has been the most consistent QB on the East team. Scouts are intrigued by his height and arm strength. He made some accurate throws downfield during Wednesday’s practice. He showed good timing and anticipation. Colby Cameron (Louisiana Tech) made accurate throws and bounced back from his shaky performance on Tuesday. Collin Klein (Kansas State) continued to struggle with his accuracy. I didn’t see much of an improvement from him throughout the week. We will see his running ability on full display during the game on Saturday.
RB Zac Stacy (Vanderbilt) looked good on Wednesday. He is only 5’8, but he is 215 pounds. He has a very strong lower body and thick hips. He made a couple of good cuts and showed a burst. He is a physical runner. This guy is a major sleeper.
WR Corey Fuller from Virginia Tech has been the best wideout on the East team. He has demonstrated the ability to create separation with his speed and get open. He has terrific hands. He had a one-handed grab in the end zone. He could turn out to be a very good slot receiver at the next level. Emory Blake (Auburn) had another strong day. He is a precise route runner and caught every pass which was thrown to him. Rodney Smith from Florida State had his best day. He caught the ball more cleanly today. He came back to the ball and gave the QBs a good target to throw to. Hokies’ Marcus Davis had another disappointing afternoon. He runs poor routes. He can’t locate the ball downfield. He doesn’t know how to use his body to shield defenders away.
TE Chris Pantale (Boston College) stood out. He displayed reliable hands in the middle of the field. He also has been the best blocking TE in this game.
C T.J. Johnson (South Carolina) has helped his stock this week. He got a good push in the run game. He showed excellent hand placement. He is a very solid technician. C Eric Kush (California, PA) had a tough day. He struggled keeping his balance and proper knee bend. He wound up on the ground a few times. He also needs to get stronger. OT Terron Armstead (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) had a good performance. He has good size and quick feet. His run blocking skills stood out. He has helped himself this week.
DE Devin Taylor from South Carolina had his best day. His had usage especially during the scrimmage was terrific. He used his length and speed against OL. He beat OT Nick Speller from UMass, who had a tough afternoon, with an inside move on a pass play. Taylor got into the backfield and disrupted a few run plays as well. David Bass (Missouri Western State) put together another strong day. The quickness and active hands were on display. He beat Nick Speller and Mark Jackson during practice. He has been the best DL on the East team during the practices.
CB Brandon McGee (Miami, FL) had another a big day. He displayed tight coverage on receivers during one-on-one drills. His closing speed is terrific. He once again showed quick feet and loose hips. Branden Smith (Georgia) only weighed in at 168 pounds. But he is a feisty and physical corner. He had a great afternoon. He has great closing speed. Smith also showed good ball skills today by intercepting two passes.
The play of the safeties on the East team has been a pleasure to watch. Safety Josh Evans from Florida stood out during Wednesday’s practice. He is a physical safety. But I have been very surprised by his coverage skills this entire week. He has quick feet and fluid hips. Clemson’s Rashard Hall is quick. He was aggressive during practice. He diagnoses plays quickly and has a nose for the ball. Earl Wolff (NC State) has been my favorite safety here on the East team. He has good closing speed. He is an instinctive safety. Wolff has displayed the ability to cover receivers in the slot.
Alex Carder (Western Michigan) was once again the most consistent QB on the West squad. He isn’t flashy and doesn’t have physical traits that jump out at you, but he is an accurate signal caller. He is a late round prospect. Seth Doege (Texas Tech) was accurate on short passes, but had a difficult time with the deep ball. Matt Scott (Arizona) was off target with a lot of his passes today. His made a couple of bad reads as well.
It was another good day for Christine Michael (Texas A&M). He showed off his impressive burst through the hole. In the drills, he struggled with his blocking technique. Kerwynn Williams (Utah State) shows the willingness to run inside. He also has the speed to turn the corner. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, return kicks and punts. He is a versatile back.
WR Keenan Davis (Iowa) had another good afternoon. He makes catches in traffic and adjusts nicely to the balls thrown downfield. He has the most reliable hands on the West team. His speed is the big question mark. Mount Union’s Jasper Collins put together a solid afternoon. He displayed soft hands and quickness out of his breaks from the slot. Chad Bumphis (Mississippi State) had his best practice. He stood out with his pass catching skills. He is very elusive after the catch. Tyrone Goard (Eastern Kentucky) continued to have problems with drops.
Zach Sudfeld (Nevada) got beat a couple of times during the pass blocking drills. He showed a tendency to lunge and get overextended at times.
I have enjoyed watching the battle between Michigan’s DT William Campbell and TCU’s OG Blaize Foltz. These two guys have improved their stock during practices. Campbell is naturally strong. He is good in pursuit and has shown a non-stop motor. He consistently got in the backfield and disrupted plays. Foltz gets good leverage and finishes his blocks.
DT Josh Boyd (Mississippi State) had another strong performance. He displayed good power. He also was extremely quick for the OL on a few plays during drills. DE Wes Horton (USC) showed his quickness around the edge. He was the most impressive defensive end in Wednesday’s practice. He has the size, the frame, athletic ability and quickness. Unfortunately, Horton has been a classic underachiever throughout his career.
I watched Keith Pough from Howard more closely today and I came away impressed. He has sideline-to-sideline speed. He is a good athlete. He gets good depth on his drops and has been making plays against the run. Pough is also a vocal leader. Iowa’s A.J. Klein flew around today. He is an instinctive LB. He broke up a pass during the scrimmage and showed better hips than expected.
CB Micah Hyde (Iowa) showed fluid hips and the ability to run with receivers downfield. He made a diving interception along the sidelines today. It was an impressive looking play. Terry Hawthorne (Illinois) had another poor practice. He got beat on a double move by Anthony Amos. He hasn’t been able to make plays this week. His instincts and awareness are questionable.
It was another gorgeous day in the low 80s on Tuesday. The East team was in full pads, and we witnessed a lot more intensity and physicality on the football field. Once again, the West team was practicing in shorts without the pads for the second straight day.
QB Nathan Stanley from Southeastern Louisiana was the best signal caller on the East squad today. He showed very good velocity on his throws. He throws a pretty accurate deep ball. Stanley needs to bulk up and improve his footwork. Colby Cameron (Louisiana Tech) and Collin Klein (Kansas State) struggled to find any type of consistency today. The coaches designed a few option plays for Klein. He was comfortable running with the football. Klein doesn’t look like an NFL QB. He needs to switch positions at the next level.
Pittsburgh’s Ray Graham showed terrific cutback ability. He was explosive. He also contributed as a receiver. Graham has run with a sense of urgency and a physical presence here. He is easily the best back in St. Petersburg.
WR Emory Blake (Auburn) was the most consistent receiver on the East squad. He didn’t have a single drop. He has shown reliable hands and a willingness to go over the middle. Quarterbacks targeted him all day long. Corey Fuller from Virginia Tech continues to impress me. He has good size and speed. They lined him up on the outside and in the slot. He continued to make plays on Tuesday. FSU’s Rodney Smith had an inconsistent day. He almost came up with one-handed grab which drew a rave from the crowd. But it takes awhile for him to get to full speed and he is not as physical as his size would indicate.Centers T.J. Johnson (South Carolina) and Matt Stankiewitch (Penn State) stood out in the individual drills. Johnson shows good footwork and was at his best in pass protection. Stankiewitch is a great technician. He sustains his blocks well once he locks on. They were the two most consistent OL on Tuesday.
OT Mark Jackson (Glenville State) won his battle against DE Devin Taylor from South Carolina and Missouri Western State’s David Bass (more on him later). Jackson is a big man with good strength. It is difficult to get around him. He showed good hand placement during the scrimmage. He played well today.
Taylor showed flashes in the morning during individual drills. But he was shut down during the scrimmage. He was handled in one-on-one battles. He got too high and he needs to learn how to use his hands. He was disappointing today.
The most impressive defensive lineman today was David Bass. He showed quickness off the snap. He had active hands and beat an OL with a good swim move on one play.
OT Devey Jordan (Memphis) did an excellent job against DL Scott Valone (Rutgers) on back to back plays during the scrimmage. Vallone is a good effort player, but he didn’t have a good day. DT Izaan Cross (Georgia Tech) flashed on a few occasions. He showed a quick first step and blew up a run play.
I was surrounded by a number of scouts today that continue to be impressed by Penn State’s LB Gerald Hodges. He uses his speed and instincts to locate the ball. He stuffed Zac Stacy on one run play. I have been impressed with his ability to shed blocks during this week. Sio Moore (UConn) continued to impress. He shows good gap responsibility and instincts on run plays. He has been solid in pass coverage during the first two days. I have concerns about his size (only measured at 6’0 during the weigh-in).
Cornerback Brandon McGee (Miami, FL) had a good Tuesday session. He improved today. He intercepted a pass that was intended for TE D.C. Jefferson. He located the ball and attacked it at its highest point. The speedy CB showed quick feet.
CB Josh Johnson (Purdue) looked good during kick returns. Kicker Caleb Sturgis (Florida) showed off his accurate leg at the end of practice. He connected on a 53-yard FG.
Western Michigan’s Alex Carder continued to impress during Tuesday’s practice. He anticipates his throws. He knows where the receivers are supposed to be. He makes good decisions. Unfortunately, he lacks the arm strength and struggles throwing the ball downfield. Seth Doege from Texas Tech has shown the ability to spread the ball around to different receivers. His arm has been better than advertised. He had a couple of impressive completions down the sideline. QB Matt Scott (Arizona) continued to impress with his arm strength. But he needs to work on his accuracy. Scott also had three botched snaps during the center/quarterback exchange. He has the biggest upside out of all of the quarterbacks that are present at this game. Looks like a promising developmental type of prospect.
Christine Michael (Texas A&M) is an explosive back. He had a big practice. He made a good cutback during the scrimmage and broke off a long run. He has shown good vision throughout practice. There is one NFC West team that really likes him. RB Zach Line from SMU is a tough, physical back. But he doesn’t have much of a burst through the hole. He has looked hesitant in Tuesday’s practice. He has shown the willingness to block. His future is at FB at the next level.
West receivers dominated Monday’s practice. But the secondary challenged them today with press coverage and got the better of them. The most consistent receiver was Keenan Davis (Iowa). He was physical off the line. He has very soft hands. He dropped only one pass the entire afternoon. I have questions about his speed. He didn’t create much separation on the practice field. Mount Union’s Jasper Collins really struggled against press coverage today after standing out on Monday. He also had a couple of drops. Tyrone Goard (Eastern Kentucky) is a tall, lanky receiver. He is not a physical guy. He made one spectacular catch downfield when he got the ball at the highest point. He had a tough afternoon by dropping three passes on Tuesday.
TE Zach Sudfeld (Nevada) continued to impress with his pass catching skills. He created separation for most of the day with his sharp route running skills.
DT Josh Boyd (Mississippi State) had a good day. He showed strong, active hands against C Ryan Turnley (Pittsburgh) and OG Kirby Fabien (Canada). Fabien had a tough day in the one-on-one battles. Boyd also showed his quickness during the scrimmage. OT Dan O’Neill (Western Michigan) used his size (6’7, 315) to block DE Travis Johnson (San Jose State) on two consecutive plays. O’Neill is a good run blocker and he just fires off the ball. He needs to work on his hand placement.
DT William Campbell from Michigan was unblockable. He showed his strength. He was very successful using a bull rush. The only player who had success against him was OG Blaize Foltz from TCU. Foltz is incredibly strong. Once he locks on, he sustains his blocks. These two guys shined today.
OG Sam Brenner (Utah) had the worst day of any player on the West team. He struggled with his technique. He was outmatched by bigger and faster guys. C James Ferentz (Iowa) is a sound technician. He showed proper knee bend. He had a tough time with center/QB exchange. His size is a concern, but he could turn out to be a nice backup in a zone blocking scheme.
Linebacker DeVonte Holloman (South Carolina) showed good pop and active hands during individual drills. He has loose hips and has looked comfortable dropping back into coverage. LB Nathan Williams (Ohio State) showed great energy and effort throughout the day. He got into the backfield a couple of times and disrupted run plays.
CB Travis Howard (Ohio State) was one of the stars of the day. He showcased terrific press coverage skills especially against Goard and Collins. He displayed tight coverage during practice. He has the size and the speed. Consistency has been his biggest issue during his career. Iowa’s Micah Hyde flashed at times. He made a diving INT against Dan Buckner. He lined up in the slot and showed good short area quickness. He looks like a good cover 2 corner at the next level.
Illinois’ CB Terry Hawthorne was inconsistent. He broke up a pass against Dan Buckner. But he got burned on another pass play. He also didn’t line up right on one particular play. He has the physical tools to be starting corner at the next level, but his play has been average at best. Aaron Hester (UCLA) continued his struggles today. He had a difficult time turning his hips and keeping receivers in front of him. He has the necessary size to make the move to safety.
Safety from Syracuse Shamarko Thomas looks very fast out on the field. He stood out on Tuesday. He showed quick feet and good change of direction skills during the individual defensive back drills. He also had good coverage during the scrimmage. He demonstrated the ability to turn and run with the slot receivers downfield. Thomas also got physical with Dan Buckner at the line of scrimmage. Nevada’s safety Duke Williams impressed everyone in attendance today after being quiet during Monday’s practice. He displayed natural hands during individual drills. He also showed good instincts when he blew up a run play during the scrimmage. Williams was very impressive in pass coverage. He won one-on-one battles against Tyrone Goard, Keenan Davis and his teammate Zach Sudfeld. He had tight coverage throughout the day. Zeke Motta (Notre Dame) also came up with a pick. He located the ball and got it at its highest point.
Day One Observations
It was a beautiful, clear day out here in St. Petersburg, Florida on Monday. The temperature was in the low 80s. You couldn’t ask for better weather. The players weren’t practicing in pads today, so my focus was strictly on the skilled positions. The practice began at about 1:40 pm in the afternoon with the East team.
The West quarterbacks stood out more than their East counterparts. Overall, they were more consistent. Western Michigan’s Alex Carder showed off his accuracy. His ball placement was impressive on a couple of deep throws. He is surprisingly athletic. Carder lacks ideal size and has an average arm. But he is off to a good start. Matt Scott (Arizona) has great upside. He is athletic and is at his best throwing on the run, although we didn’t see that today. He has a live arm. He can drive the ball downfield. His ball placement and accuracy needs to improve. He missed some wide open throws. Seth Doege (Texas Tech) had success completing passes in the short to intermediate areas. He struggled with the deep ball because of his lack of arm strength. He got the ball out quickly.
RB Christine Michael (Texas A&M) had a disappointing senior campaign. He definitely wants to show people what he is made of this week. He ran hard and with authority. Michael has all of the physical tools. Utah State’s Kerwynn Williams is a very small back. But he is incredibly quick through the hole. He stayed low to the ground. He also has good hands coming out of the backfield.
The West receiving core was very consistent catching the football and performed much better than their East counterparts. Jasper Collins (Mount Union) had a big day. He showed reliable hands despite dropping one pass at the beginning of practice. He caught the ball cleanly away from his body. Collins ran crisp routes. He was quick in and out of his cuts which created separation from the defensive backs. Anthony Amos (Middle Tennessee State) is a player to keep an eye on. He showed good concentration on the over the shoulder catch in 7 on 7 drills and soft hands the whole afternoon. Iowa’s Keenan Davis didn’t drop a pass. He used his body to shield the defenders away and worked the middle of the field. Dan Buckner (Arizona) is a big receiver. He located the ball while it was in the air. He showed great concentration on a couple of over the shoulder catches near the sideline.
Despite dropping one pass at the beginning of practice, Zach Sudfeld (Nevada) showed very good hands. He fell down on one play, but kept his concentration and came up with the catch. He ran a couple of very good, crisp routes. Sudfeld worked the middle of the field and was a big target for the QBs. He was the best blocker out of all of the tight ends during the individual drills as well. He is primed for a big week. UCLA’s Joseph Fauria struggled during Monday’s practice despite making the best catch of the day. He made a terrific diving catch downfield by extending his arms. He also got hurt on that play. Fauria went down with what has been called a “hip” issue. Before the injury, he looked slow and was unable to locate the ball on a downfield throw. His route running is below average. He also struggled with his blocking technique during the individual drills.
LB DeVonte Holloman (South Carolina) showed off his instincts during the scrimmage. He also got good depth on his drops. His pass coverage is an obvious strength.
UCLA’s Aaron Hester struggled mightily when he was matched up in man coverage against quicker receivers. Jasper Collins beat him badly on a double move. Travis Howard (Ohio State) has the physical tools and has shown flashes of making plays during the season. But he got beat on a couple of deep passes as well.
Everyone always wants to find out about the performance of the quarterbacks in this type of environment. Let’s start with Collin Klein (Kansas State) who was the big story coming in to the 2013 East/West Shrine Game. He was a big disappointment today. Klein has a slow release. He has a long windup and has a very average arm. He needs to work on his five to seven step drops. His mechanics need a lot of improvement. He struggled to find any type of rhythm out there. Klein’s accuracy was spotty at best. Klein threw a couple of picks today. Colby Cameron (Louisiana Tech) was the best QB on the East squad. He was efficient and decisive with the football. He demonstrated a good touch. Cameron also showed off his quick release. He overthrew a few of his passes, but overall he had a solid performance. He does lack ideal size and arm strength. Southeastern Louisiana’s Nathan Stanley has the strongest arm on the East team to go along with his size. He throws a good, accurate deep ball.
Pittsburgh’s Ray Graham showed off his burst through the hole. He also demonstrated good vision. He was one of the bright spots for the East. Zac Stacy (Vanderbilt) looked quick. He was able to turn the corner on a couple of occasions. He will show just how physical he is when players will put the pads on.
The East receiving core has some talent, but they struggled with drops on Monday. The most consistent receiver was Corey Fuller (Virginia Tech). He showed off his speed and created separation from the DBs. He hauled in a couple of deep passes, but he also had one drop. His teammate Marcus Davis (Virginia Tech) had an up and down day. He looks the part of an NFL receiver. Davis has the size, good build and great speed. But he had a big drop on a deep pass. He also needs to polish up his route running skills. Rodney Smith (Florida State) is a huge WR with big hands. He had his moments during practice. He made a great diving catch on a downfield pass. But Smith also dropped a catchable pass near the sidelines.
Rutgers’ tight end D.C. Jefferson had a big afternoon. He is a big guy at 6’6 and 250 pounds. He made a great grab in the middle of the field by extending his arms. He made another big catch in traffic. Keep an eye on him the rest of the week.
LB Gerald Hodges from Penn State is one of the better players here. He deserves to be at the Senior Bowl. He was terrific in coverage during the scrimmage. Hodges also blew up one run play from what I saw.
CB Branden Smith (Georgia) showed off his quick feet and fluid hips during the drills. CB Kayvon Webster from South Florida showed too much hesitation and struggled in changing directions. He lost his footing a few times. Webster had a bad practice. CB Melvin White (Louisiana-Lafayette) is a tall CB who lacked fluidity in his backpedal during the drills. Georgia Tech’s Rod Sweeting broke up a pass during the scrimmage in man-to-man coverage. But he got burned by WR Marcus Davis on another play. S Brandan Bishop (NC State) was too high in his backpedal during the individual drills. S Rashard Hall of Clemson showed off a smooth backpedal and fluid hips during the drills. He stood out during the scrimmage as well by making a few plays. S Earl Wolff (NC State) was one of the better safeties on the East team. He made a good read and intercepted one of Collin Klein’s passes. He also made a big tackle on a run play.
RB Zac Stacy (Vanderbilt)
RB Ray Graham (Pittsburgh)
WR Emory Blake (Auburn)
WR Marcus Davis (Virginia Tech)
WR Corey Fuller (Virginia Tech)
TE D.C. Jefferson (Rutgers)
OL Mark Jackson (Glenville State)
DE Devin Taylor (South Carolina)
LB Gerald Hodges (Penn State)
LB Sio Moore (UConn)
CB Branden Smith (Georgia)
CB Rod Sweeting (Georgia Tech)
CB Melvin White (Louisiana – Lafayette)
S Josh Evans (Florida)
S Rashard Hall (Clemson)
QB Matt Scott (Arizona)
RB Christine Michael (Texas A&M)
RB Theo Riddick (Notre Dame)
FB Zach Line (SMU)
WR Chad Bumphis (Mississippi State)
TE Joseph Fauria (UCLA)
TE Zach Sudfeld (Nevada)
DT Josh Boyd (Mississippi State)
LB DeVonte Holloman (South Carolina)
CB Terry Hawthorne (Illinois)
CB Demontre Hurst (Oklahoma)
CB Micah Hyde (Iowa)
S Jahleel Addae (Central Michigan)
S Zeke Motta (Notre Dame)
S Duke Williams (Nevada)
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